“This interview will not be like all of the others,” Nolan stated, as he and Caitlin prepared for their first double interview with their friends, Greyson and Emersynn Cage. He was right. This double interview turned into a family affair.
It all started when I sent the blog to Greyson and Emersynn’s mother, Rhonda, because she is a special education teacher, and I thought she would appreciate the stories being told. Excited by the stories, she read the blog aloud to her kids and to her surprise Greyson asked if he could be interviewed. Here’s the interesting piece… we had no idea that Greyson is a person with an exceptionality and for the first time he wanted to tell us his story.
So we arranged for a interview/playdate. Everyone met at our house and gathered around the table on the back porch. The girls on one side, and the boys on the other. Nolan and Caitlin sat smiling with their highlighted questions in front of them. Greyson and Emersynn sat posed and ready to handle anything.
What sports do you play?
Greyson: Basketball. Soccer.
Emersynn: Same. Basketball. Soccer.
What are your favorite foods?
G: Lobster and crab.
Nolan and Caitlin let Greyson know that they too love lobster.
E: Crab legs, lobster and shepherd’s pie.
Emersynn shares that her aunt makes the best shepherd’s pie.
What books do you like to read?
G: Action and adventure. I like books by Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling and Brandon Mull.
E: Non-fiction animal books.
Caitlin smiles at Emersynn’s response. She is also a non-fiction animal book lover.
What movies do you like to watch?
G: Action, action, action and adventure.
Nolan says with a questioning face, “You said action three times.” Greyson responds confidently, “I know. I just really like action movies.”
E: I like all movies except superhero movies.
Nolan stands up and shouts across the table, “Oh! We guessed that! We thought you would like any movies, BUT superhero movies because Caitlin hates anything I like.” Siblings.
What superpowers do you possess?
G: None. I wish I had superpowers. I wish I had invisibility, teleportability, flight and super speed.
Nolan reflects on Greyson’s response and then asks a follow up question, “Why would you need to fly if you could just teleport?” Greyson explains, “If I was battling someone, I would need to fly and not teleport.” Nolan nods in agreement.
E: My superpower is that I never give up.
What accomplishments in sports are you most proud of?
G: My trophies from sports and having fun.
E: Having fun and doing my best.
What’s your ultimate sports goal?
G: Play in the NBA.
E: Playing in the World Cup.
What makes a good teammate?
E: They pass the ball.
G: Same. She’s right.
What makes a good coach?
G: They build up the players confidence by making them work hard.
E: When the coach is a good teacher, like my mom.
It should be noted that her mom, Rhonda, has many superpowers like being an excellent teacher and Emersynn’s basketball coach.
What makes a good friend?
G: They are nice. They usually say, ‘What do you want to do?’ and they are nice to guests…like Nolan for example.
FYI: While Greyson is answering this question Nolan is pointing at himself repeatedly.
E: They are nice, respectful, and they play with you.
How would you define ability?
G: Something you can do or something you are trying to work hard at to make it one of our abilities.
E: Yeah, I agree.
What advice do you have for other young athletes?
G: Try hard and do your best.
E: And have fun.
Later, I followed up with their parents, Rhonda and Thomas, to ask them a few questions in hopes to gain a family perspective.
Can you tell me about Greyson’s exceptionalities?
Rhonda: Greyson was diagnosed with lipomyelomeningocele (spina bifida) at birth. It is a neurological disorder. Greyson’s spine is tethered when it should be free flowing. His exceptionality affects his lower extremities (leg discrepancy, foot deformity, scoliosis, and gait abnormality). He also has neurogenic bladder and neurogenic bowel.
As a family, what superpowers do you possess?
Rhonda: We believe that our superpowers are strength (of mind) and resilience. I would love to say patience but to be honest, I’m running low lately.
What is your family’s sports story?
Rhonda: Our sport story, hmm…I would say that our story begins with me. I started off playing basketball and fell in love with the game. I am a strong believer in team sports and what they have to offer in character development. Greyson has been to soccer games, baseball games, and basketball games since birth. He was BORN a fan! I coached my nephew for years and transitioned to Greyson’s coach. I never thought that Greyson couldn’t play sports, and most importantly he didn’t either. I just made sure that I was there to encourage him and support him as his coach and his mother.
What advice do you have for other families who have a child or children with exceptionalities?
Rhonda: My advice would be to be your child’s strongest advocate and to encourage your child to advocate for him/herself. Learn as much as you can about his/her exceptionality, and talk about your feelings with family and friends. To truly view your child as exceptional, and not disabled.